Dear Peter, Dear John,
Peter, I think the scripture that you have quoted and the experiences you have shared both have a 'direct' bearing[!] on our present discussion wherein we see both a Beginning and an End. Especially in light of recent posts, as you have well said, "Not that this means that the Church is not the locus of salvation, but salvation is of the Lord and not of the Church, and He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy"
. . . I feel strongly that to grasp what is shared here is to transcend all divisions in Christ in a way whereby there can be a genuine manifestation of and increased revelation of the Love of Christ and the Peace of Christ which further results in the stillness that John speaks of. And, specifically here a stillness which becomes more characteristic of the one who lives a life of prayer--possibly as opposed to moments of prayer.
And, all of this speaks to a cosmic irony in the life of the one who would seek to live a life characterized in his/her being by this way of knowing. Because, in short as John has concluded above, "There is nothing more."
And, right now Peter, I can think of no better book of the bible to quote than the one you already did as it speaks 'directly' to this. If we keep going with the section of Paul's letter to the Roman's that you have provided we see that his conclusion of the whole matter is further addressed at the end of chapter 11, and this just before a very key transition/transformation point which speaks of new life in Christ (12:1-2). In the closing verses of chapter 11 we read:
Quote:O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
How much more clear can this conclusion be? How arrogant, how ignorant to assume any other stance as it relates 'directly' to what we are discussing here . . . as we read in this same passage:
Quote:Do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.
And, in this we see a hint of both the kindness and the severity of God, but again how much more clear can this be? But, we are not left dangling here . . . in the next lines penned by the one sent we read:
Quote:I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
This is a great one to look at the syntax for any so inclined. Paul is urging and beseeching here again (like in the first chapter), and the word for perfect in this passage, "teleion"
brings a new way of understanding the doctrine of the endgame, a different kind of teleology. But, in the end, again it is just as the good doctor has said above here as well, "There is nothing more."
But, also, again, a cosmic irony here . . . do any see what I mean? As it relates to our conversation, would any who are living the life abandoned to God even participate in such tussles as are all around us as it relates to even such a question as a generous Orthodoxy? As we might consider a humble Orthodoxy, and as we might consider another kind of Orthodoxy which manifests itself more in the way of an Orthodox Taliban (with Orthodox Taliban Tendencies) . . . what place does the striving which is involved in even discussing such matters as unity and division hold/occupy? As the psalmist has said we are to "Cease striving and know that He is God;" we are to "Be Still and know that He is God."
On the one hand it occurs to me that in order for one's 'knowing' to be in harmony with one's 'being' there would be no place for such activities. But, on the other hand, we look at the life of the Apostle Paul himself and we see that this is not a 100% rule. Any who have read Paul's letters can easily see the different sides of him. I know the above is a translation (viz. 'O the depth of the riches . . .') but, here he sounds more like Keats than not. However, there are other samples of his writing whereby we could easily observe a less than serene and poetic state of being.
Possibly, there is a degree of idealism here, or at the least a desire to avoid a 'dull opiate' state in this enquiry, but it is a sincere one.
Although, I would like to interact with both of your posts more at this point, possibly I will just leave off here now with a less than open ended question.
Unless one is called to be like the Apostle Paul, an exception to the rule, doesn't it seem like the one who has really transcended all divisions in Christ, and is abandoned to Him, would simply turn from the gnashing of teeth associated with the promoters of division in Christ? I don't think I'm asking this very well here . . . but, to try again, wouldn't it seem that the one who had actually transcended all divisions in Christ be more likely to be found in a Church service or in the woods in contemplation of the divine Logos than somewhere doing battle with those with Orthodox Taliban Tendencies? Think about it . . . Paul preached of the Beauty to be found in the Life of Christ, the Spirit Filled Life, the Life lived in Christ--the peace that passes all understanding, etc., but (based on his writings), characteristically, Paul's ontology did not model his epistemology did it?